by Jim Rower
“The other day I watched a girl be orphaned.”
These words cut deep into my heart. My daughter, Karis, was spending a college semester abroad in Calcutta, India. In addition to her college courses, she volunteered at a few locations, including the Rainbow School, a school for orphans held on the rooftop of a “normal” school.
She continued to describe the event in her email:
She walked into Rainbow wearing a pink and blue salwar kameez and a brave mask that was not quite thick enough to hide her nervous eyes.
She was led by three gentlemen… At one point they put a little green suitcase on the table and had the little girl unlock it with a key she had tied around her neck, under her shirt. The suitcase couldn’t be holding any more than my everyday Jansport backpack. The bag’s scanty contents were examined and it was locked again.
One of the men showed [the administrator] a paper. She nodded. Then they turned to the girl and squeezed her shoulder or patted her head, and walked out. Her name is Sufi. Apparently, her parents are ill and incompetent, and the neighbor who had been watching her could no longer take care of her. As the men left, her brave mask began to wilt under her small tears.
Several weeks later Karis informed us that the authorities discovered Sufi’s parents were not as unable to care for her as reported. The real story is they didn’t want the expense of raising a girl (as opposed to a boy). Sufi was returned to her parents.
I can’t begin to imagine the emotions that this little girl felt through this entire experience—abandonment to a strange place, struggling to find new friends and acceptance, and then being returned to parents who had not wanted her.
I am very blessed to have been raised in an unbroken family with two loving parents. Many people today cannot say that. Yet, regardless of our earthly upbringing, we can know the security, peace, and love of our spiritual Father who never rejects us.
“He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor 1:8-9).
God yearns for us to come to Him; to walk with Him, to talk with Him, and to be in relationship with Him. He sacrificed Himself to demonstrate His love for us and ensure we can be with Him forever. And, no matter how often I push Him away and reject Him, He remains—ever-present, ever-loving, ever-faithful.
Father God, thank You for Your unconditional love and grace. Please forgive me when I push You away. Show me Your will for my life, Lord, and help me to listen to Your guidance and be more obedient to that will. I want to live in constant relationship with You. Amen.